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Stratum plus. 2016. No 5

A. D. Kozak (Kiev, Ukraine)

Collective Burial near Desiatynna Church: taphonomy and paleopathology

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Pages: 73-82

The author studies postmortem, perimortem and antemortem changes on human skeletal remains uncovered in a pit near the Desiatynna Church (Church of the Tithes) in Kiev. Some stray bones were attributed to 8 (13) adult and 6 children of different age groups. Anthropological and pathological conditions marked most of these individuals as regular town dwellers or defenders, including at least 1 (2) professional warrior(s). The antemortem traumas revealed in majority of these individuals confirm their violent death. Preservation of bones (integrity of skeletons, their color and surface), presence of some mechanical damages (destruction and animal teeth marks) as well as traces of soot and fire tell that these individuals died and were found in different environments before being buried. Most likely, they were found in open spaces (street) and closed premises (destroyed buildings and cellars). Various available marks on the bones suggest the timing of their burial — at least 5—7 months to 11 months after their death. The findings allow reconsidering some historical accounts and shedding light on the events following immediately after the destruction of Kiev in winter 1240.

Keywords: Early Rus’, Kiev, 13th century AD, anthropology, taphonomy, paleopathology.

Information about author:

Alexandra Kozak
(Kiev, Ukraine). Candidate of Historical Sciences. Archaeology Institute, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Geroev Stalingrada Ave., 12, Kiev, 04210, Ukraine
E-mail: [email protected]

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